Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran on December 14, 2020.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran on December 14, 2020. (Photo: Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Calling for End to 'Economic War,' Rouhani Says Iran Will Rejoin Nuke Deal If Biden Agrees

"Either everyone will implement the JCPOA as it is or they don't. If they do, we will too," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Jake Johnson

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday committed to returning to the 2015 nuclear accord without even an hour of delay if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden fulfills his promise to do so, a vow welcomed by observers as an encouraging sign that the two nations could soon be on a path to restoring diplomatic relations torn to shreds by the Trump administration.

Speaking at a televised news conference in Tehran, Rouhani made clear that Iran is seeking a return to "the situation as it was in 2017"—prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's unilateral violation of the nuclear deal and reimposition of crushing sanctions—and will not accept any preconditions for rejoining the landmark agreement.

"I believe that the era of the economic war has come to an end."
—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

"The U.S. tried for months to include the [ballistic] missiles program and we told them it's non-negotiable. They tried for months to include regional issues as well. They were all discussed and rejected," the Iranian president said. "What can be on the table is that everyone will return to their full commitments."

"Either everyone will implement the JCPOA as it is or they don't," Rouhani added, referring to the nuclear deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "If they do, we will too."

Rouhani went on to say that Iran, in turn, will not demand as a precondition for restoration of the deal any compensation for the damage inflicted by U.S. sanctions, which have crippled the Middle East nation's ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I believe that the era of the economic war has come to an end," said Rouhani. "This war cannot go on, not because Trump has been defeated and Mr. Biden has won. Even if Trump had won, he would be forced to do away with sanctions."

Sina Toossi, senior research analyst with the National Iranian American Council, called Rouhani's remarks "an important signal that his preference is to have a speedy return to the JCPOA by all sides."

During the presidential race, Biden vowed to revive the Iran nuclear accord, the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has continued piling on new sanctions and taking a militaristic posture toward Iran in line with the White House's disastrous so-called "maximum pressure" strategy, which has repeatedly pushed the two nations to the brink of all-out war.

Since Biden's victory last month, U.S. warhawks—including New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman—have been pressuring the president-elect to use the Trump administration's current sanctions as "leverage" to extract additional concessions from Iran at the negotiating table, instead of swiftly returning to the deal without preconditions.

Writing for Responsible Statecraft last week, former CIA analyst Paul Pillar warned that such an approach would be ineffective and potentially dangerous.

"There will be room for wider discussions and negotiations with Iran in the future," Pillar argued. "But to get to that land of broader negotiations will first require the United States to live up to agreements it already has made, rather than trying to wring advantage out of a patently failed policy."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Cleaner Air Is Coming' as London Expands Vehicle Pollution Fee to Entire Metro Area

"Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs," noted Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the expansion.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Amazing News': Historic Shark Protections Approved at Global Wildlife Convention

Up to 90% of sharks targeted by the lucrative fin trade will now be protected, said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'The Nightmare Materializes': Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel's National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir's elevation to national security minister could have a "catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Jake Johnson ·


Raging Wars, Soaring Hunger Put Women and Girls in Crosshairs, Warns UN

"A toxic mix of crises—conflicts, climate, skyrocketing costs, and the ripple effects of the Ukraine war—are inflicting a devastating toll on the forcibly displaced. This is being felt across the world, but women and girls are particularly suffering."

Brett Wilkins ·


Greta Thunberg Joins 630+ Young People in Landmark Climate Lawsuit Against Sweden

"The Swedish state fails to meet the constitutional requirement to promote sustainable development leading to a good environment for present and future generations," said the plaintiffs.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo